There are still a few races left in 2012 seasons of NASCAR's top three series - Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series - but it's already been one for the record books. Not only have numerous track records fallen in Sprint Cup qualifying, but the Truck Series has seen a record number of first-time winners in 2012.
Speed-fest for Cup Series - seven new track records have been set at Sprint Cup Series tracks this season, two as a result of new surfaces and one as a "new" track on the circuit. Early in the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, Kasey Kahne set the new track record at 190.456 mph (old record - 188.884 mph).
In June, four track records were set: Pocono on June 9 by Joey Logano (179.598 mph - up from 172.533 mph), Michigan on June 16 by Marcos Ambrose (203.241 mph - up from 194.232 mph), Sonoma on June 22 by Ambrose (95.262 mph - up from 94.325 mph) and Kentucky on June 29 by Jimmie Johnson (181.818 mph); Pocono and Michigan were new track surfaces, while qualifying in 2011 at Kentucky - its first race in the Cup Series - was rained out.
On August 11, Juan Pablo Montoya set a new mark at the second road course on the schedule, Watkins Glen International, with a speed of 127.020 mph (old record - 126.421 mph), and at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday night, October 11, Greg Biffle set a new record speed at 193.708 mph (old record - 193.216 mph).
First-time winners in Trucks - eight drivers have gotten their first wins in the Camping World Truck Series this season, breaking the old record of seven set in 1997 and 1998. At the season-opener in Daytona on February 24, John King emerged from the smoke and debris to win his first Truck race in just his eighth start. Three races later, in Kansas on April 21, Truck Series regular James Buescher won his first Truck race - after winning in the Nationwide Series at Daytona on February.
Justin Lofton won his first Truck race at Charlotte on May 18, while Joey Coulter picked up his first Truck win at the "Tricky Triangle" in Pocono on August 4. Two weeks later on August 18 in Michigan, Nelson Piquet Jr. earned his first Truck win - once again following his first Nationwide Series win - and two weeks after that on August 31, Ty Dillon won his first Truck race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
On September 15, 18-year-old Ryan Blaney became the youngest winner in Truck Series history with his first win at Iowa Speedway, and Parker Kligerman became the latest first-time winner with his victory at Talladega Superspeedway.
Sources: "New track qualifying records set in 2012 (so far)," jayski.com, October 12, 2012
"Storylines: Charlotte," NASCAR Media, October 8, 2012
Paula is a long-time NASCAR fan who also covers the sport for Skirts & Scuffs and Examiner.com.
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